Team Obama to Iran: Don’t take Trump’s bait

June 1, 2019 - 19:47

A number of former Obama administration officials have quietly urged Iranian government officials to keep their cool in the face of the Trump administration’s maximum pressure policy against Tehran.

According to the Daily Beast, the former U.S. officials have reached out to their contacts in the Iranian government, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to tell them: Don’t take Trump’s bait. Stay calm.

Conversations between former Obama officials and Iranian government officials have been ongoing since November 2016. Zarif, who visits the U.S. every year for the UN General Assembly in New York, usually meets with lawmakers, think tanks, journalists, and former officials when he is in New York.

But the recent round of conversations, which took place over the phone and in person over the last two months, came as lines of communication between the U.S. and Iran, through intermediaries in Europe and elsewhere, deteriorated.

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have grown in recent weeks, especially after the latter deployed an aircraft carrier strike group, B-52 bombers, and 1,500 more American troops in the region, citing unidentified Iranian “threats”.

On Wednesday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said, “We are aware that evident elements are trying to put America into a war with Iran for their own goals.”

He said U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton and “other warmongers” are plotting against Iran.

“War would be a disaster for everybody in the region. We hope that wisdom will prevail in Washington, that they do not make this biggest mistake in the region ever. But we are fully prepared for that scenario,” Araqchi said.

Washington withdrew last year from the international nuclear deal, and it has ratcheted up sanctions in efforts to shut down Iran’s economy by ending its international sales of crude oil.